South Dakota club sports hopeful for games in 2020 Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)- Following Governor Kristi Noem’s request to keep schools closed the remainder of the school year, the South Dakota High School Activities Association canceled the remainder of the 2019-2020 sports season.

This means that the sports scene in South Dakota will be nonexistent throughout the next two months. So where does that leave summer club sports?

The Dakota Alliance Soccer Club has made the decision to cancel all winter/spring camps and clinics. Some of the camps/clinics only had two or three weeks left.

The Dakota Alliance Soccer Club was slated to start the spring season on April 18, but the leaders of Dakota Alliance met on Wednesday, April 9 and made a tough decision.

All spring games, camps and clinics have been canceled for the Dakota Alliance Soccer Club. The club will give refunds in one of three ways, they will either roll the enrollment into the fall, give a full refund or use it as a donation toward the club. That decision is made by all of the athletes/parents who enrolled their kid in spring soccer.

Dakota Alliance has found a way to connect with their athletes as they are using online videos and Facebook Live videos to keep their players active. 

Soccer has a good size window in South Dakota to play and that is leaving the club optimistic for soccer sometime this year.

“We do have a capability of playing in the fall and that season doesn’t start until the week after Labor Day. We are very optimistic about playing soccer sometime this year,” Director of Soccer Operations Frank Gurnick said.

Other sports clubs in the state are looking at similar approaches to combat the spread of COVID-19. The Sioux Empire Baseball Association (SEBA) has already moved the start of the 2020 season from May to June 1, but that’s not all. 

“We have been forced to cancel several tournaments, and to be honest, we expect that all of our tournaments will likely be cancelled this summer,” SEBA Executive Director Chad Barman said.

Barman says that SEBA is exploring ways to possibly play or have baseball activities in the fall, if they can’t find a way to play before August. 

“At this point, there is still optimism,” Barnam said. “We will do anything we can to make it so that kids can play baseball this summer/fall.”

SEBA had earned the rights to the Central Plains Regional Legion tournament, however, that tournament has been canceled. 

“Central Plains for the Legion level was canceled yesterday.  While this is disappointing, we are hopeful that we can now extend the legion season into August, which would allow for us to play as many games as possible,” Barnam said.

SEBA isn’t the only baseball organization that many people are keeping an eye on in South Dakota. 

The South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association (SDABA) is hoping for a full season as play doesn’t start until late May or early June. 

“There has been no decision to start the amateur baseball season at a later time as of now,” SDABA President Dale Weber said.

The league has time until the beginning of the season, but they also have time to work with, if they have a delayed start to the 2020 season.

“In my opinion, we can start the season later if needed and push back the state amateur tournament scheduled to be held in Mitchell August 5-16,” Weber said. “We can also have a shortened season and shorten the days for the state tournament if needed.”

Weber and the SDABA knows that this is a very serious pandemic that is going on, but he also knows that there is a chance for baseball in South Dakota.

“The SDABA is going to do everything in its power to have amateur baseball this summer.  Within reason of course. I am optimistic that we will have amateur baseball in SD this summer,” Weber said.

Despite the ongoing cancelations and postponements of sports in South Dakota, there is optimism that club games could take place at some point.

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